If you enjoy helping others and working in the medical field, then working as a doctor may be the right career for you to pursue. Learning about the details of this role can help you make an informed decision about whether being a doctor aligns with your career goals and objectives. In this article, we explore the benefits and drawbacks of being a doctor.
What are the Benefits of being a doctor?
Here are some of the benefits of working as a doctor:
Doctors usually benefit from lucrative salaries because of their high-value work and extensive academic requirements needed to perform in their roles. Despite having high paying wages, salaries vary for several reasons, such as the doctor’s specialization, geographical location, employer, academic accomplishments, licensure and work experience.
Doctors spend long hours saving lives, diagnosing diseases and prescribing their patients with the proper medications to address their health concerns. When a doctor sees their patients get better and recover, they may feel personal satisfaction knowing they were able to make a difference in their patients’ lives. While the job of a doctor may be challenging, receiving the gratification of a recovering patient may motivate the physician to continue striving for excellence in their work.
Diverse specializations and knowledge
A primary benefit of working as a doctor is that you can pursue a diverse range of specializations and fields of knowledge. Some of these specialized doctors include:
Family medicine: These doctors provide basic care to patients of all ages for a diverse range of common ailments and illnesses. These professionals are usually the first ones to diagnose a health issue and refer their patients to a medical specialist.
Internal medicine: This is a doctor who provides care to their adult patients, in a variety of settings. This is a role that can lead to other specializations and areas of practice.
Pediatrics: This type of doctor provides care to children like general health checkups, vaccinations and physicals. They might also treat simple ailments like stomach flu, colds, sore throat and coughing.
Obstetrics/Gynecology (OB/GYN): This doctor specializes in the health of women, providing support for reproductive health, hormones and menopause. They also provide care for pregnant women and can deliver babies.
Cardiology: This is a doctor that provides treatment for the heart. They can diagnose and help manage heart failures, post-operative care and cardiovascular diseases.
Oncology: This specialist treats patients with cancer and helps with their symptoms as well. They also take part in clinical trials to uncover new cancer treatments.
Infectious disease medicine: This expert focuses on infections, including those that are challenging to treat or diagnose like swine flu, HIV or E. coli.
Ophthalmology: These doctors diagnose and treat eye diseases and disorders, like cataracts and glaucoma. They also provide vision correction care through eye surgeries.
Dermatology: This doctor diagnoses and treats conditions involving a person’s skin, hair and nails. They may soothe and treat issues like rashes, melanoma, acne, alopecia and dry skin.
Psychiatry: This is a mental health doctor that treats emotional, psychological and behavioral conditions within their patients. They may provide treatments like psychotherapy and medication.
Neurology: This doctor treats patients who experience conditions that affect their nervous system, brain and spine. They may diagnose and help treat conditions like Parkinson’s disease, neuropathy and multiple sclerosis.
Surgery: This doctor specializes in providing surgical procedures in an operating room, addressing any complications that may occur post-surgery. Surgeons may perform general surgery or more specialized procedures.
Anesthesiology: This is a doctor that manages a patient’s vital signs and provides pain treatment during a surgical procedure. They also help manage medical emergencies and provide anesthesia to their patients.
Diverse workdays and continuous learning
Doctors often have diverse workdays, which can include meeting new patients, treating existing patients and addressing time-sensitive emergencies. Because of this diversity, doctors can continue learning and expanding their skill set every day.
Diverse work environments
Because there are many types of doctors and specialist physicians, these professionals can work in a diverse range of environments such as public or private offices, hospitals or other medical centers. Some doctors can work for organizations, schools and institutions, while others may open their own private practice. There are also government doctors and those who focus more on the academic aspects of the field, contributing their research and knowledge to the development of modern medicine.
Opportunities for career growth
Doctors who wish to pursue growth opportunities can undertake additional professional education opportunities like certifications. They can also pursue volunteer or professional organization involvement. They also have access to a diverse range of job opportunities as well and if they have a specialization, there may be a high demand to fill positions A skilled doctor with years of experience may be able to negotiate and choose between multiple jobs, giving them to the flexibility to influence their base pay.
What are the drawbacks of being a doctor?
Here are some drawbacks you may encounter working as a doctor:
Long training and academic period
Becoming a doctor takes an extensive amount of time and dedication to complete. It can take more than 10 years to earn the necessary academic qualifications. You’ll need to complete a doctorate degree and residency before you can get your medical license to work as a physician. There might also be additional certifications or licenses that you’re required to obtain as well, especially if you’re a doctor with a specialization. Completing all these prerequisites requires commitment.
Job-related stress and pressure
Doctors work in stressful environments where there is a lot of risk involved for their patients. These professionals have a substantial amount of pressure to support good patient outcomes, sometimes in time-sensitive situations. Whether they work in a hospital or private setting, these professionals need to maintain their own mental and emotional health so they can continue helping others. Some medical organizations provide access to in-house counselors and psychologists that doctors can meet with to manage their stress.
The educational cost needed to become a doctor is high. Despite these high costs, there are several factors that can affect a person’s academic expenses, such as their personal financial contributions, scholarships, financial aid and grants. Before someone can pursue the path of a doctor, it’s crucial that they understand the financial obligations of the occupation and devise an action plan to help achieve these goals.
Long work hours and unpredictable schedules
While this doesn’t apply to every type of doctor, many have long working hours. Doctors in hospitals often work over eight hours a day and some have unpredictable schedules that may include nights, weekends and holidays. Some doctors have few off days and may work on-call to help treat a critical patient. Because of this, some doctors may not have a good work-life balance or may have to schedule their personal lives around their jobs.
Doctors interact with recurring and new patients regularly. This means they encounter challenging patients and patient families who openly display their stress. In these situations, it’s essential that a doctor demonstrates professionalism by remaining polite, but direct when delivering sensitive information. Doctors often serve as an advocate for their patients, providing them with the necessary knowledge and information so become more informed about what’s going on and how to address it appropriately.
Depending on the type of work environment that a doctor works in, they may become exposed to a variety of different diseases and infections. If there is an illness that spreads within a hospital or clinic, then a doctor has to take the necessary steps to protect themselves, their patients and their colleagues.